Last updated on February 11, 2021
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) was caught on tape making cracks about physical violence against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who last year was the target of a kidnapping plot by right-wing militia extremists.He was also recorded spreading lies about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that was carried out by pro-Trump insurrectionists, calling it a “hoax” and “staged.”In the footage made by Republican activists, Shirkey bragged about metaphorically spanking the governor.“We’ve spanked her hard on the budget,” he said in the video posted on YouTube. “Spanked her hard on appointments.”At another point, Shirkey said: “I did contemplate, once or twice, I did contemplate inviting her to a fistfight on the Capitol lawn.”
Here’s the video:
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says militias are “getting a bad rap,” and composed of people “not uniquely different” from you and me. “They have a real purpose, and I think a sincere purpose,” Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said in a May TV interview, months before Thursday's charges.
Michigan's highest ranking Republican leader was caught on video calling the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol a “hoax” and espousing other conspiracy theories related to the siege.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, in a video posted on YouTube of a meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials, said of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died: “It was all staged.”
About half an hour into the video Shirkey can also be heard asking, “Why wasn't there more security there?” He accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being involved, saying McConnell “is part of the decision-making how much security they have on stand. I think they wanted to have a mess.”
Dare Wisely, chairman of the county party, said, “We’re not going to go along to get along. We’re done with it, Mike.”
Shirkey responded, “If you want to bully, go ahead and bully.”
Wisely fired back, “I call you a pussy if you call me a bully.”
When warned about the upcoming censure vote, Shirkey said, “I don’t give a shit. … I don't care.”
The party’s executive board voted 14-5 to censure Shirkey.
Among the reasons for the censure was Shirkey’s support of a ban on the open carry of firearms at the state Capitol “when no violent attack with firearms has ever taken place.” Shirkey’s support of the ban came after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The party also excoriated Shirkey for calling armed protesters who stormed the state Capitol in April “a bunch of jackasses.”
At the meeting in the diner, Shirkey encouraged one of the party members to test the constitutionality of the ban.
“Carry in your long gun now and test it,” Shirkey said.
President Donald Trump failed to convince Michigan lawmakers in a White House meeting that Joe Biden fraudulently won the presidential election in their state, they said in a statement.“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors,” state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the Michigan House Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, said in a joint statement.“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation,” they added.They noted that “allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” But they also emphasized that “candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”
Bobby Leddy, spokesman for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, criticized Shirkey for fueling misinformation.
“It’s disappointing that Sen. Shirkey is spending his time on political potshots, indulging conspiracy theories, and expressing empathy for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. Gov. Whitmer is staying laser-focused on keeping people safe and getting Michigan back to work,” Leddy said Tuesday afternoon.
“She’s ready to work across the aisle with the Legislature to pass the Michigan COVID Recovery plan to fund vaccinations, support our local schools, and help our small businesses.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that “time is of the essence” and urged the Republican-run Legislature to appropriate federal COVID-19 relief dollars without strings to better fund vaccination efforts.
The request comes after both the state House and Senate introduced supplemental spending plans that hold back some of the federal funding approved by Congress in December. Both chambers indicated the funding would be meted out gradually to maintain spending oversight.
The Democratic governor had proposed a $5 billion supplemental spending plan, while the House plan came in at $3.5 billion and the Senate's came in at $2 billion.
“We need the resources to make sure we’ve got the administration effort fully engaged,” Whitmer said at a Tuesday news conference.
“The state Legislature has not yet appropriated all of the dollars that the federal government made available to Michigan,” she said.
Last week's Free Press report indicated that Michigan saw fewer COVID-19 cases per capita than adjacent states—including Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana—at the height of the winter's outbreak resurgence, and connected this pattern to Whitmer's mitigation mandates.
More recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tracks COVID-19 trends by state, showed that Michigan recorded 15.6 new infections per 100,000 residents between January 30 and February 6. Meanwhile, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois recorded rates between 23.3 and 31.7 new infections per 100,000 people over the same time period.
Additional figures published by Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center showed Michigan's test-positivity ratio was lower than those four states on Sunday.
Whitmer has faced significant pushback from Michigan residents and members of the state legislature, of which Republicans hold a majority, for her conservative approach to COVID-19 mitigation throughout most of the pandemic. Michigan has confirmed at least 620,685 virus infections and 15,854 resulting deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a bar complaint against election conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell Monday, asking the state bar in Texas and Michigan to strip her of her ability to practice law.
“She did not just tiptoe near a precarious ethical line — she outright crossed it,” Whitmer wrote in the complaint. “By filing a frivolous lawsuit based on false statements and by brazenly attempting to disenfranchise Michigan voters during the recent presidential election, she engaged in grave attorney misconduct.”
Whitmer was joined by two of Michigan's other top state officials, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who filed their own bar complaints. They ask that the Texas state bar, where Powell is admitted to practice, take away Powell's law license after she filed multiple failed, conspiratorial lawsuits arguing that election technology companies rigged the 2020 presidential election by secretly switching votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden — a far fetched scheme she said was linked to China, Iran, and the now-dead Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. They also filed complaints against Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom, and Stefanie Junttila, all colleagues of Powell involved in the effort.
Going into the 2022 election cycle, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a lot of supporters and millions of dollars to prove it.
She’s not on the ballot again until 2022, but Whitmer spent 2020 amassing a campaign war chest. According to a campaign finance report filed Monday, her campaign closed out the year having raised $5.58 million so far this cycle.
“Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to tackle our state’s greatest challenges with grit and compassion,” said Christopher Mills, senior advisor for the Whitmer campaign.
“It’s clear that Michiganders overwhelmingly trust Governor Whitmer to lead our state through one of the most difficult periods in Michigan’s history. As we begin to build our way out of the pandemic, Governor Whitmer has outlined an economic recovery plan that will rebuild the state’s economy in a way that makes it stronger for generations to come. We will always prioritize people over politics to get things done for Michiganders.”
It’s spent money on things like staff and legal fees, but still has $3.5 million in cash on hand.
It’s a big haul nearly two years out from being on the ballot.
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